BMW 7 Series saloon review
"The latest BMW 7 Series sports a brash new grille, improved powertrains and even more tech"
- Plug-in hybrid efficiency
- Good to drive
- Improved infotainment
- Polarising design
- Costly optional extras
- Reliability concerns
This is the sixth-generation of the BMW 7 Series luxury saloon and arguably the most identifiable, thanks to its bold new face. BMW clearly decided its conservative flagship saloon needed to stand out against the stately Mercedes S-Class and forward-looking Audi A8, increasing the size of its kidney grille by around 40% compared to pre-facelift models.
Elsewhere the makeover is far less dramatic, with slim new headlights and a full-width LED rear light-bar representing the most noticeable changes. It also has a smoother overall look and has been tweaked to suit the Chinese market, where more than a third of all 7 Series are sold.
The interior has also been reworked with a light touch, leaving most of its design intact but revisiting the tech on offer. The start of the show is BMW's latest infotainment system, bringing digital instruments and an updated tablet that passengers in the back can use to control the car's interior features.
Depending on its expected use, the 7 Series can be specified with a standard or long wheelbase to boost passenger space, along with either a bench rear seat or two-seat 'lounge' setup. The latter brings the full VIP experience, with individual seats that are heated, cooled and reclining either side of a centre console.
For a car that doesn’t sell in huge numbers, there's a wide range of engines, spanning from a plug-in hybrid model to diesels, and even a flagship V8 petrol. Every 7 Series is quick and supremely comfortable, but the range-topping petrols are also powerful for a large saloon, and the BMW has a sportier edge than the Mercedes S-Class.
The BMW 7 Series is soon to be replaced by a new model. The oversized grilles remain, while the headlights are now a split-level design like on the recently facelifted BMW X7. Perhaps the biggest difference comes under the bonnet, as there will be a fully electric BMW i7 model for the first time that’ll offer around 370 miles from a single charge. UK buyers will also be able to choose plug-in hybrid models, while the new 7 Series is to get a tech boost inside - including the option of a 31-inch cinema screen for rear passengers.